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Addendum

Addendum

by Stephanie on June 16, 2012

Sometimes the water gets so muddy it’s impossible to see through the swirling dirt and debris looms dark and sudden though the murk. Sometimes you have to wait for the silt to settle to clear your head.

For what it’s worth:

Sexism is not simply reducible to the prejudice of individuals. Individual misogyny is not insignificant, but to conceive of sexism is to understand that inequality, exclusion and exploitation affects women collectively – as a group, as a class – because they are women.

Because sexism is not simply reducible to the relationships between individuals, a movement which focuses primarily on the empowerment of individuals is liable to neglect to deal with the fact that sexism is the oppression of a group. That’s not to say individual empowerment isn’t important – of course it is, and in the context of widespread inequality there will be some people who, for whatever reason, have more or less agency and more or less control over their personal circumstances than others. It’s not necessary for shame or blame to be attached to that, but it’s important that this is seen within the context of a movement that aims for liberation across the board, throughout society: for example, the freedom to be sexual in the way of one’s choosing as well as the freedom from being valued primarily as a sexual commodity.

And it bears repeating that the road to collective liberation is not actually individual struggle, crucial as the battles of those individuals are: it’s collective struggle. Group struggle. Class struggle. It’s having collective goals that are actual, tangible, physical: in football fields as well as in bedrooms; in the arts as well as in industry; in common perception as well as representation; recognisable across society, not just in the circumstances, choices and preferences of individuals.

I think the feminist movement has forgotten that.

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